Where European technology companies expand first
86% of European SaaS companies open their first international operations in the US.
Nowhere is US expansion more important than with enterprise software, which is why we see 86% of $1B+ European SaaS companies open their first international office in the US.
Getting traction with American companies as early as possible is the best way European SaaS companies set themselves up for success. For example, Balderton portfolio company Aircall opened their New York headquarters just two years after launching in Paris. CEO Olivier Pailhes explains why. “We spent four months in the US at 500Startups, and we realized that the US is the biggest market, and the most demanding. Putting a high priority to build a US position - and moving key cofounders there - really helped us to make sure we built our product against the best of breed competitors and the highest demanding customers”.
At Balderton, we push our founders to think globally and about the US from day one. Bernard Liautaud, Managing Partner at Balderton and previous CEO of Business Objects, says, “too often, entrepreneurs who have a first mover advantage stay in the UK, then wait some time to go to France, and then start in Germany, and then Spain...etc. That sequential approach takes too long and by the time the company is ready to cross the Atlantic, a competitor in the US has popped up, raised $50m and gotten a head start. By then, the first mover advantage is gone, and the fight to win in the US is a much more uphill battle.”